Artist Sophie Morgan on her creative process
PUBLISHED: 16:33 29 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:33 29 February 2016
Inspirational artist Sophie Morgan is also a journalist, television presenter and disability rights campaigner. She spoke to Alice Cooke about her creative process
“Making art has always been my passion,” says Sophie Morgan. “But it was only after suffering a car crash which left me paralysed at the age of 18 that I decided to follow my heart and become an artist.”
Shortly after leaving hospital Sophie enrolled in a foundation course in Brighton, before being awarded an unconditional offer to study Fine Art at the prestigious Goldsmiths College, London. Her portraits merge photorealism with her own personality, and she takes commissions for portraits as well as creating art for herself, describing it as “the purest form of honesty, I find it very theraputic”.
When asked about her favourite piece, she is loath to single out just one, but mentions Reality, which she drew with her eyes closed. “I was struggling to come to terms with my situation and I found drawing very cathartic.”
She recommends art to anyone, and says that we all have an artist inside us, whether we know it or not. “Everyone is an artist, and should find a way to express themselves through an artistic medium. There are art classes almost everywhere, from poetry to wood-turning – there’s an opportunity to make art no matter where you live, however old or young you are.”
Sophie’s family are from Sussex, so she’s always had a home here, but these days her work takes her all over the world. For as well as being an exceptionally talented artist, Sophie also manages her own company, designing and manufacturing display products that integrate disability representation into retail (with clients such as Debenhams and Adidas)…but that too is just the tip of the iceberg. She also manages a small boutique wedding gift company called Love Lines, and in addition to this she is an award-winning campaigner, celebrated not only for her educational work within road safety (Drive iQ, UN Decade of Action) but also her journalism, raising awareness of the access and attitudinal barriers facing people with disabilities. She reports regularly for Channel 4 News, Sky News and the BBC (for programmes such as BBC News and The One Show) and with her first critically-acclaimed documentary winning several awards and her next due soon, Sophie is quickly establishing herself as a TV presenter. Recently she travelled to Ghana to present a documentary called The World’s Worst Place to be Disabled? for BBC Three.
An ardent advocate for improved disability awareness, Sophie is a director of Why Not People, the world’s first members’ club for disabled people hosting accessible events. She consults for several charities, and as a final string to her bow is a model and ambassador for various brands including Stella McCartney and Carbon Black.
Of art she says simply, “I love to make art that makes people smile. Commissions of people’s animals really make me happy, especially dogs. When I paint for myself, though, I am inspired by my reality, living life as a young disabled woman. I spend months just tinkering away at an oil painting on my easel at home.” To talk to Sophie about a commission, see more of her work, or just keep up with her exciting life through her blog, go to www.sophiemorgan.com.
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